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Table 1 Characteristics of included studies (n = 2311)

From: Chinese herbal medicines in the treatment of ulcerative colitis: a review

Characteristic n (%)
Type of study
 Randomized controlled trial (RCT)a 2164 (93.6)
 Othersb 147 (6.4)
Trial participating centre
 Single centre 2243 (97.1)
 Multicentre 68 (2.9)
Type of blinding
 Open label 2243 (97.1)
 Single 34 (1.5)
 Double 34 (1.5)
Sample size
 Median and IQR (inter-quartile range) 78 (60–100)
Number of assigned groups
 2 2228 (96.4)
 3 73 (3.2)
  > 3 10 (0.4)
Clinical phases of UC
 Activec 1645 (71.2)
 Remission 636 (27.5)
 Both 30 (1.3)
UC with CM pattern (zheng)
 Yes 895 (38.7)
 No 1416 (61.3)
CM pattern with a diagnosis criteria basis or referenced
 Yese 635 (70.9)
 Nof 260 (29.1)
Type of CHM interventions  
 Chinese single herb(s) 20 (0.9)
 CHM formula(s) 2291 (99.1)
Type of CHM formulasg  
 Fixed CHM formulas 1332 (58.1)
 Individualized CHM formulas 817 (35.4)
 Patent proprietary CHM formulas 191 (8.3)
Dosage formh  
 Decoction 2015 (87.2)
 Granule 71 (3.1)
 Powder 71 (3.1)
 Capsule 61 (2.6)
 Enema 41 (1.8)
 Othersi 124 (5.4)
Administration route  
 Oral 806 (34.9)
 External 951 (41.2)
 Both 554 (24.0)
Administration time of CHM intervention (weeks)  
 Median and IQR (inter-quartile range) 6 (4–9)
Follow-up period (weeks)j  
 Median and IQR (inter-quartile range) 26 (21–52)
Treatment group  
 Only CHM intervention(s) 1418 (61.4)
 CHM combined with Western medicine(s) 893 (38.6)
Type of controls  
 Active control 1268 (54.9)
 Add on control with baseline treatment 735 (31.8)
 Placebo control 34 (1.5)
 Blank or waitlist control 4 (0.2)
 Othersk 270 (11.7)
Outcomes including CM-related indicators  
 Yes 524 (22.7)
Outcomes including safety assessment  
 Yes 697 (30.2)
 No 1614 (69.8)
Adverse effects (AE) reportedl  
 No AE was identified 467 (67.0)
 Specific AE was reportedm 230 (33.0)
  1. aIncluding both randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials
  2. bIncluding non-randomized controlled trials, controlled observational studies, cohort study, cross-sectional study, and case–control studies
  3. c Including mild, moderate, and severe active UC
  4. d The percentage of this item was based on the number of records that included CM pattern diagnosis (n = 895). For example, 70.9% = 635/895
  5. e Reporting of how the CM pattern is diagnosed and what criteria are used for including and excluding participants, such as specific description or reference(s) where detailed explanation(s) can be found
  6. f Only provided the name(s) of CM pattern without any diagnosis criteria
  7. g Some trials included more than one type of formulas, such as both individualized formula and patent proprietary formula were included; these were counted in different columns. Thus, the total number of formula types was above 2,291. But the total number of articles that studied CHM formulas was 2,291, therefore, the percentage of each sub-item was based on 2,291
  8. h Some trials included more than one CHM interventions with different dosage forms; these were counted in different columns. Thus, the total number of dosage forms was above 2,311. We listed the top five in the Table, and categorized the remaining dosage forms into the column of “Others”
  9. i Including Pill (32), Plaster (28), Suppository (25), Tablet (23), Injection (9), Cataplasm (4), and Gelatin (3)
  10. j Among 2,311 studies, only 492 (21.3%) articles reported the follow-up arrangement
  11. kThe control group included other CHM prescription(s), such as common CHM formula, fixed CHM formula, or patent proprietary CHM formula, etc. Besides, different doses or dosage form of CHM formulas were also included as the control
  12. l The percentage of this item was based on the number of articles that included safety assessment (n = 697). For example, 70.8% = 635/897
  13. m The specific AEs were provided in Additional file 1: Appendix S3 with detailed symptoms and its reporting frequency